Tag Archives: Bremerton

Revisiting Riddell Road storm runoff

The in basket: Bob Carter, who complained to the Road Warrior last spring about storm water allowed to flow down Riddell Road in Bremerton during heavy rains, writes again to say, “Paving on Riddell Road between Pine and Highway 303 was just completed. There had been a problem with water on the roadway during a hard rain storm.

“After the paving, there seems to be still a water problem on the roadway during a rain storm and it starts up by Peace Lutheran Church. The water from the culvert under the driveway going to Peace Lutheran Church needs to be contained and routed to a drain before it enters the roadway which causes hazardous driving.

“Now most of the water enters the roadway and some of the water flows downhill and enters the parking lot at Redwood Plaza with excess water depositing sand/gravel in the parking lot and it also has created standing water as you enter the Redwood Plaza parking lot by Bank of America.

“The exit to the parking lot was filled in with asphalt but the entrance side was not. The new paving did, however, improve the water on the roadway at Riddell and Highway 303,” he said.

The out basket: Colen Corey of Bremerton Public Works, says, “We added some catch basins to catch water in the right of way east of the church so that there is less water traveling the entire distance on the road surface.

“We have not completed the various tasks associated with this project yet, such as some shoulder work, paving of driveway areas and completion of lane channelization. We will accomplish these tasks this fall/winter as time allows.

“This area is very flat and the surface water does not move very fast, causing the perception of a lot of water in the roadway during heavy rain periods. However, the new drainage is working good and handling storm water as planned.

City pedestrian improvements this year all on the west side

The in basket: Around the middle of last year, an e-mailer advocated some pedestrian improvements at the Bremerton intersection of Sheridan and Pine roads. There is a lot of foot traffic there and its shortcomings for those on foot include no sidewalk on either side of Pine uphill from the intersection.

I happened to be there a lot last year, on my way to and from my late mother’s assisted living facility and can attest to the large amount of foot traffic on Pine near Sheridan.

The city of Bremerton has a lot of pedestrian improvements to be paid for with state and regional council grants scheduled this year, so I asked if Pine and Sheridan might be included.

The out basket: No, says the city of Bremerton engineering staff.

The work to be done with grants involves 11 intersections, but all are on the west side of town.

They are:

– Kitsap Way’s intersections with Harlow Drive near Kitsap Lake and at 11th Street. The wide Harlow Drive crossing will get a pedestrian refuge island half-way across.

– Eleventh Street’s intersections with High Avenue and the portion of Montgomery Avenue that remains open to auto traffic

– Highway 304 at First Street and Callow Avenue.

– Sixth Street’s intersections with High Avenue and  Callow Avenue.

– Burwell Street’s intersections with Chester, Montgomery, High and Warren avenues.

The work includes curb cuts for disabled access and countdown pedestrian signals with audible push buttons where there are existing signals, and pedestrian-activated rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) on the street edges and the countdown lights where there aren’t.

Two of the intersections, Sixth and High and Burwell and Chester will get new pedestrian-activated signals that will stop vehicle traffic. They are to be coordinated with existing signals on either side of the crossings to avoid forcing drivers to stop at a red light more than once while passing through, city staff says.

Sidewalk improvements will be included in some of the work.

Raised pavement markers raise left turn question

The in basket: Robbie McCabe writes, “I have a question that may keep me from getting a ticket.

“I have been going westbound on Sixth Street and turning left into Group Health’s underground parking lot for many years,” he said. “For some reason, today I noticed that there is now a double line of those caps starting just past Kitsap Bank and heading further down Sixth Street.

“Does that mean I can no longer turn left into the parking lot?”

The out basket: Those caps, called raised pavement markers or RPMs, substitute for painted lines in many places. There are two sets of them where Robbie asks about, creating the upcoming left turn lane on eastbound Sixth, adding confusion as to what is permitted around them.

Whether such lines are painted or created by the RPMs, the rules are the same. You can turn left across them, even pairs of them, unless there is a sign prohibiting that, crosshatching between the lines or a center line 18 inches or more thick.

Since none of those things exist at the Sixth Street location Robbie mentions, he can continue to turn as he has in the past. Yielding to oncoming traffic is required, of course.


Traffic signs can blend into the background

The in basket:  I often hear from readers who find the array of traffic signals on eastbound 11th Street at Warren Avenue in Bremerton confusing. There are four signal heads for three lanes, and the right-most two control only the outside lane, but give some drivers the impression going straight in the centermost eastbound lane is permissible.

It’s not, both inner lanes are for left turns only.

So I was surprised the other day when I spotted two signs beside the street as I approached the intersection. They said only traffic in the right lane is allowed to go straight.

I asked Gunnar Fridriksson, Bremerton’s managing street engineer, if they had recently been added because of comments about confusion at the intersection, or had they been there since the intersection was revised a year ago.

The out basket: Another surprise. They’d been there a lot longer than that. Gunnar said, “Probably put in place 20-plus years ago when the lanes were originally configured (with) the two lanes being left turning. Been there all this time.”

He’s remarked before that the recent revision didn’t change the number of signal heads or what lanes they control. For some reason, confusion among drivers increased when the heads no longer hung from wires, but are installed on metal poles.

“The problem with signs,” he said, “if you are not looking for them – they tend not to be noticed.  (That’s) why I am not a proponent for adding to the clutter.”

He then sent along a public service video intended to raise consciousness about driver’s watching out for bicycles, but also illustrating that things in plain sight can go unnoticed if you’re watching for something else.

Perhaps you’ve seen it. It involves a bunch of people tossing basketballs around, and you are challenged to count the number of passes the ones dressed in white make. A man in a bear suit walks through the milling players, moon-walking part of the way, and I’m sure goes unnoticed – the first time – by the vast majority of those who see it and are occupied counting passes. I didn’t see him, even though I’d seen the video before.

Google ‘moonwalking bear” if you want to test your awareness. Even forewarned, you may be surprised.

Bremerton paving remote streets south of Gorst

The in basket: I went to the city of Bremerton Web site to find out when the next work party will be to clean up the median of the Gateway (Highway 304) on the west side of town, and came across something that surprised me.

I saw a notice that the city is paving this week on Lake Flora Road and West Belfair Valley Road.

I didn’t know any portion of Lake Flora Road was in the city. And though I often write about the deteriorating condition of the city’s portion of West Belfair Valley Road (you may think of it as Old Belfair Highway, its name in Mason County), I thought there was little hope for improvement money in the foreseeable future.

I learned I was sorely out of date in my understanding of how far south along Highway 3 the city limits extend. Bremerton National Airport. the Olympic View Industrial Park and the first stretch of Lake Flora Road from Highway 3 all are in the city.

They all were annexed in 2009, says Allison Satter of city community development. I had thought city jurisdiction there was limited to city watershed land.

The paving this week will be overlaying the existing pavement. Money for the work comes from a grant the city got from the Puget Sound Regional Council. None of if comes from the car tab add-on the city has been collecting for two years. Other streets have been chosen for work with that money this year.

Managing Street Engineer Gunnar Fridriksson said the grant money was for arterial streets only and they chose these two to avoid dealing with sidewalks. The overlay will use a Kevlar fiber in the hot mix to span weak portions of the roads that otherwise would need a much more costly full reconstruction, he said. West Belfair Valley Road will be repaved from Division Street in Gorst to the entrance to Gold Mountain Golf Course. Lake Flora Road paving was from Highway 3 to where county jurisdiction begins.

That SR304 work party that prompted my search is Saturday morning, incidentally.


Part of Highway 304 median gets a close haircut

The in basket: I notice that a stretch of the overgrown median on Highway 304 just west of Bremerton, known as The Gateway,  has been mowed to neaten it up. I wondered when it was done and by whom, and whether the city of Bremerton still plans a volunteer cleanup of the remaining untended median between Charleston Beach Road and Farragut Avenue this spring.

The city had volunteers weed the stretch between Farragut and First Street last fall, with traffic control and beauty bark followup by city workers. The latest work was more of a clear cut than a weeding.

The out basket: Chal Martin, city public works director, says, “Yes, we are trying to improve the appearance of the Gateway. The middle section is planned for a volunteer event Saturday, April 26.  More to come on the specifics, but the concept is the same as last fall.

“The outer section work was a joint Public Works/Parks project on March 12. Over the winter in 2012-2013, we attempted to hand-weed this section using labor from our pool of work-release folks. Unfortunately the labor pool was not reliable and we spent a lot of time setting up a work zone every time the work crew was scheduled, and very little work got done.

“So although that idea was a failure, we learned a lot. One of the things we learned was that, due to the extensive growth of weeds, weeding was not possible without significantly cutting back all of the other growth. So we came up with the alternate idea of using a combination of heavy machinery and hand labor, but this time performing the job with our city staff.  They know what they are doing and can work safely, quickly and efficiently.

“We have some additional work planned this week, and then I think that will be it for the outer segment for this year.  We will then watch what happens and dial in what we have learned into next year’s maintenance.”

West Bremerton beacon raises question

The in basket: Kathy Weigel e-mails to say, “I was wondering about the intersection of Patten and South Lafayette Avenue in West Bremerton.

“When traveling east on Patten towards Lafayette, you come to a stop sign. There you will see a flashing yellow light. “Aren’t these types of yellow lights usually used for warning, not for stopping?

“It has been that way as long as I have lived here. It seems it would make more sense to have flashing red lights, as it has a stop sign. Just wondering.”

The out basket: The light is a warning, says Gunnar Fridriksson, Bremerton’s managing street engineer.

“The beacon is there to call attention to the directional sign on the east side of the intersection,” he said. “My understanding is that there were a number of accidents here with people missing this sign and driving into the lawn and residence just beyond where the beacon is located now.

“Lafayette in this section is a very old concrete street with a rolled curb and driveway for the residence almost directly across from the intersection, so a motorist would not even feel much of a bump rolling over the curb. “I believe we have records on this beacon going back to 1962 or so.  It is likely older than that.

Birch Avenue just tip of iceberg for Bremerton street repair

The in basket: Bob Larry says in an e-mail, “Birch Ave off of Sylvan in Bremerton is in horrible shape. Other than the obvious reason of ‘it’s not downtown,’ is there any reason this road and others in the neighborhood aren’t being maintained?

The out basket: The answer is obvious, all right, but “not downtown” isn’t it.

It’s been well publicized that the city has dozens of streets that rate a zero in the annual assessment of their condition, and Birch is one of them. So are a lot of arterials, which will get attention before residential streets like Birch.

“The roadway (on Birch) has completely failed and needs reconstruction,” concedes Gunnar Fridriksson the city’s managing street engineer.  “The estimate to reconstruct was approximately $90,000 – but that does not include the storm water improvements we will also be required to do with the reconstruction.  I would guesstimate total cost to repair the street at about $200-250K.

“But there is some good news on the horizon,” he said. The additional license tab fee the city imposed two years ago will provide at least $500,000 for street maintenance in 2014.

“While recognizing many of our residential streets need a lot of help, it has nevertheless been our approach to focus this money on our arterial streets,” Gunnar said, “because arterials carry much more traffic, have bigger safety issues, and impact a larger number of people than our residential streets.”

They spent only $53,000 of the money the tab fee raised for 2013, mostly for sealing of pavement cracks on arterials to prolong their life. The carryover will leave the city with about $750,000 for arterial improvements next year.

In addition, Gunnar said, the city council recently redirected some city utilities money to the street fund. “This starts small but builds fairly quickly to several hundred thousand dollars per year,” he said. “We think this funding will enable us to begin to address some of our worst residential streets – but we are still probably three years out.

“We estimate our maintenance backlog at about $5 million a year. So we aren’t at the funding level we would like to be, but we are making progress, and we do expect to be able to take on some of these residential streets within the next few years.”


First Street crosswalk hard to see

The in basket: John Jurgens writes, “Can you look into the crosswalk on the north end of the Gateway right near the Chinese restaurant (at First Street and Highway 304 in Bremerton)?

“I drive a worker-driver bus in every work day and coming from the south is a challenge in bad weather,” John said. “The road sweeps a bit to the left just before the crosswalk so we don’t have a clear view of anyone crossing to the east until we are almost at the crosswalk. This morning someone was trying to cross west and I almost did not see her.

“Is there any way the city could install some sort of crossing signal to warn drivers coming from the south that someone is waiting to cross?”

He also suggests a change to discourage left turns onto First Street at the intersection, which requires driving into oncoming northbound traffic lanes briefly.

“While it is not an issue now because the Montgomery Gate (to the shipyard) is closed, I have seen cars and even a tractor-trailer sitting in the median area southbound waiting to turn left onto First Street. If the median was just a bit longer or even squared off, it might discourage these left turns.

The out basket: There is a plan completed for addressing those issues, created in 2007 and called the Non-Motorized Plan, providing improvements for bicyclists and pedestrians.

It calls for what’s called a “half-signal” that pedestrians and bicyclists can activate to stop traffic on the arterial highway long enough for them to cross. There would be no signal for First Street traffic, which can’t cross there anyway.

Seattle has a bunch of them and has a description of them you can access by asking Google for “half-signal.”

As for the median barrier, the plan calls for two new gaps in it for bikes to cross the highway, but makes no mention of lengthening it to discourage risky left turns.

But since there is no funding for the plan’s recommended changes at present, there is time for those who would like to see it done to campaign for its being added to the project, if and when it’s done.

Bump in Highway 3’s outside lane to be tended to

The in basket: Pat Fuhrer of the Silverdale engineering consultants MAP Ltd. e-mailed to ask ,”Have you driven southbound  SR 3 in front of the Bayview apartments since the state closed the lane Sept. 20 & 21 to repair the culvert trench recently?  It’s worse now then it was before!   Do you know if another repair is planned soon, and might they use a lean concrete backfill so it doesn’t settle again?”

The out basket: They are aware of the problem, just north of the Kitsap Way interchange in Bremerton, and will be fixing it temporarily soon and permanently next year, says Duke Stryker, head of maintenance for state highways locally.

An 18-inch-wide culvert that runs under the highway was damaged in last November’s heavy rains, he said. They had to dig down 14 feet to repair the damaged section, and found that the entire culvert was in bad shape.

So they contracted to have a 16-inch-wide liner inserted through it’s entire length last month, which required another 14-foot trench tin which they had to “wrestle the liner through there, after which it was backfilled and repaved,” he said.

But the compaction of the finished product didn’t hold up, leaving a depression.

“We’ve had some settlement, similar to what we had before,” Duke said. “We’ll put some cold mix in there and keep and eye on it, and put it on our paving schedule next year.”